Announcing new domestic connections and ambitious growth plans, German-owned FlixBus has thrown down a challenge to National Express – currently the UK’s largest scheduled inter-city coach operator – with high ambitions to become the UK’s largest coach network by 2025.

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FlixBus, the world’s largest intercity coach travel provider, is launching new domestic connections in the UK. As the country is opening up and domestic travelling becomes part of everyday life again, the market player hits the road from 15 April. It previously operated a limited range of routes, prior to lockdown.

It previous contractor, London-based BM Coaches has been replaced by Swavesey, Cambridgeshire-based Whippet Coaches, which is using Caetano coaches previously employed on National Express contracts.

The initial offer covers 18 routes between 12 cities. Passengers can book tickets from 99p for a number of connections between London, Birmingham, Bradford, Bristol, Cardiff, Derby, Leeds, Leicester, Loughborough, Manchester, Sheffield as well as Swansea. There will be up to 7 departures in each direction on peak days depending on the route. The most frequent corridors will be London-Bristol, and London-Birmingham.

Andreas Schorling, Managing Director FlixBus UK: “Many UK residents have held back their activities in the past months to reach the point where people can start to reunite. We are glad that we can provide a new, value for money mobility alternative to those travelling to meet their loved ones finally.

“Seeing the efficient vaccination program, we are hopeful that more and more passengers will have the opportunity to move around the country freely again in the upcoming period. Although outlooks are optimistic, we stay cautious: hygiene and safety continue to be our highest priority to ensure a safe journey.”

FlixBus will keep applying preventive measures on the vehicles. Every coach will be disinfected before every ride and undergo a thorough cleaning process. In line with local regulations, passengers will have to wear masks, as will drivers when away from their seat. The row immediately behind the drivers will be kept clear, and only half of the remaining seats will be sold to help keep a safe distance between passengers.

Continuous growth in line with the gradual opening of the country

In line with the Government’s roadmap to open up the country, FlixBus will gradually increase the number of connections in the upcoming weeks. The goal is to have a “truly compelling” offer by the summer, with new holiday destinations and a significantly increased number of cities in the domestic network.

When the situation allows it, FlixBus will also bring back international services between UK cities and destinations in continental Europe, such as Paris, Amsterdam or Brussels. The company says it has “bold long-term plans” in the UK and aims to build the country’s largest coach network by 2025.

Local companies to recover in cooperation with FlixBus

FlixBus does not own coaches or employ drivers. The business model is based on a collaboration with local small and medium sized companies. FlixBus uses state of the art technology solutions to plan the offer and provide a smart and convenient customer journey.

The partners, often family-run businesses with decades of experience in the industry, take care of the day-to-day operations. FlixBus and the partners share the revenue of the rides operated together, with the more significant part realized on the partner’s side. Like this, both parties stay motivated to always provide the best service for the passengers and ultimately, all stakeholders benefit from the business model.

“The past year hit the transportation industry hard. For SMEs especially, it is crucial to restart their businesses as long as it can be done in a safe way by following regulations and guidelines. We are confident that we can provide a stable base for our partners to grow and strengthen their business after a very challenging period.” – added Schorling. 

The UK among the first countries where FlixBus ramps-up in 2021 

FlixBus is currently present in 36 countries. As a result of the accelerated vaccination campaign and the ongoing easing of the restrictions, the UK is among the first markets in FlixBus’ global network to start growth projects this year.

Andreas Schorling: adds: “Our colleagues around the world are also fastening their eyes on our expansion in the UK. Thanks to the quick improvements in the situation around COVID-19, we will draw some important conclusions from the local UK mobility sector experiences.”

About FlixBus

FlixMobility is a mobility provider, offering new alternatives for convenient, affordable and environmentally-friendly travel via the FlixBus and FlixTrain brands. Thanks to a unique business model and innovative technology, the startup has quickly established Europe’s largest long-distance bus network and launched the first green long-distance trains in 2018 as well as a pilot project for all-electric buses in Germany and France.

Since 2013, FlixMobility has changed the way over 100 million people have traveled throughout Europe and created thousands of new jobs in the mobility industry. In 2018, FlixMobility launched FlixBus USA to bring this new travel alternative to the United States.

From locations throughout Europe and the United States, the FlixTeam handles technology development, network planning, operations control, marketing & sales, quality management and continuous product expansion. The daily scheduled service and green FlixBus fleet is managed by bus partners from regional SMEs, while FlixTrain operates in cooperation with private train companies. Through these partnerships, innovation, entrepreneurial spirit and a strong international brand meet the experience and quality of tradition.

The unique combination of technology start-up, e- commerce platform and classic transport company has positioned FlixMobility as a leader against major international corporations, permanently changing the American & European mobility landscape.